By Nate Buchik
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Gripe of the week
Most weeks there are plenty of choices about what to choose to make a quick jab at. Unnecessary sequels ("Big Momma's House 2"?), celebrity gossip (Sienna and Jude are back together!) and music news (check out Daniel Radcliffe's great celebrity playlist on iTunes) usually take up the bulk of this section. However, sometimes there are events that need a larger comment. Sometimes there is an issue so pressing that it must be presented at length to enact some kind of social change. Sometimes a journalist must take a stand and be courageous in fighting the establishment, no matter what the editors say. Walter Cronkite, Edward R. Murrow and Anderson Cooper had their time. Now is my time.
"Arrested Development" had its episode order cut to 13 by Fox on Friday, effectively canceling the show following the remaining eight episodes that will begin airing in December. While there have been travesties in television cancellation during the last 10 years - "Freaks and Geeks," "Firefly," etc. - this is the worst incident I've ever experienced and the toughest to ignore.
Fox cut back the order of "Arrested" last year, from 22 to 18, and then moved it to Monday night this fall. The ratings have dropped from the low average of 6 million viewers last year to the even worse 4 million this year. While the DVDs have sold well, Fox decided it couldn't handle the low ratings and will show two episodes of the forgettable drama "Prison Break" on Mondays instead.
While there is talk of the show being picked up by another network (possibly Showtime), it's probably gone forever, destined to be discovered by intelligent comedy lovers for years to come.
With "Two and a Half Men" holding the top spot in ratings, it's clear that quality isn't necessary to garner ratings success. However, it's unacceptable that almost no one was watching "Arrested," which is the funniest sitcom in American television history.
"Arrested" is amazing because it's smarter and more layered than anything else on TV. A lot has been made about how it doesn't pander to the lowest common denominator; it requires your complete attention and it helps if you've seen every previous episode because any joke could return at any time.
Perhaps it was too smart for the idiot box, too subversive for the red staters and too demanding for those looking to relax with another episode of "CSI." Whatever it is, it's certainly not "Arrested Development's" fault. It's time that we as a country stopped supporting bad films, bad music and bad television. Not only are we the fattest country, we're quickly becoming the one with the worst taste as well - even though there is plenty of quality available.
If your friend tells you that she likes to watch "According To Jim," don't just let it go. Break her TV.
If you see someone in front of you at the theater purchasing a ticket for "Doom," trip him and steal his money.
If you hear someone listening to the radio in the car next to you (any station), run him right off the road.
There is a civil war in this country, and it is not between Republicans and Democrats, but those with good taste and those with bad taste. And bad taste is winning.
The evidence is in the mindless blockbusters, laugh tracks and Ashlee Simpson albums that the public eats up.
It's time to purge, and get rid of the crap that's presenting itself as art. It's unlikely that there will ever be another "Arrested Development," but when there's something else worth watching on the television in another five years, the country better tune in.
All right, enough of the rant. Next week I'll be back with more hot celeb gossip and we'll answer this question: What else can Paris Hilton do to get in the news?
A sarcastic comment
At least the networks made one good decision this week, picking up ABC's "Freddie" for the full season. I'm glad it didn't get axed like the brilliant ABC comedy "The George Lopez Show."
Will Arnett, GOB on "Arrested," at least has work lined up after TV. He'll star in a Bob Odenkirk-directed picture coming in 2006, and has a few other starring roles in the works. He's also married to "Saturday Night Live's" Amy Poehler, who is not as hot as Tina Fey, but at least she's funny.
The final episodes are scheduled to start airing Dec. 5. Maybe if there's a jump in viewership, Fox will reconsider. But even if there isn't, I'm sure the writers are going to be pulling out all the stops in the last eight shows.
Http://the-op.com is the best "Arrested" fan site on the Net, with lots of sound clips and a message board.
Www.saveourbluths.com will hopefully lead the charge to try and get "Arrested" back on the air, even if it's not at Fox.
Season two of "Arrested" was recently released on DVD, and I can vouch for it being just as essential as season one. The amazing running jokes include Franklin - GOB's puppet from the ghetto - the continued chicken dances and Buster's hook hand.
"I don't understand the question and I won't respond to it," Lucille Bluth, after being forced to eat at a diner and asked by a waitress if she wants the "plate or the platter."